- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1854 KB
- Print Length: 355 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Blue X Entertainment (28 April 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00K0TPEBG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer reviews: 33 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #180,171 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Men of the Cross (Battle Scars Book 1) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Henry, the younger of the two, is idealistic. He's left Lincolnshire and his betrothed, Alys, much against his father's wishes because of his passionate faith that the cause is just. He wants to free Jerusalem from Saladin's forces and one suspects prove himself to his father.
Stephen meanwhile has fought beside Richard in many battles. He is less fond of the church and we soon discover why, for Stephen has no love for women but rather men.
And this is why this story really worked for me. The growing attraction and eventually love between Henry and Stephen makes for an absolutely enthralling story. The battle scenes are all the more immediate for the terror that Stephen & Henry hold for the other dying. I found myself holding my breath willing them both to make it for I did not dare to think how one would survive without the other.
Of course this is the 12th century so this kind of love does not come easily. It comes with a whole heap of angst. There are angsty longing looks across taverns, they are angsty gazing outwards to sea, there are angsty accidental brushing of thighs. Fans of angst are in for a treat!
And yes there is sex but it is passionate rather than explicit. And us readers need a pay off for all that torment!
As you can probably tell I loved. this. I loved it so much it wasn't enough to own it on kindle so I ordered the paperback version to so I could curl up on a chair and enjoy it all over again.
I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series when I can rejoin Henry & Stephen (I'm already worrying about how they are going to fare in England).
Starting in Southampton we get to follow two of those Crusaders and their adventures. The book has a good mix of historical and political background information, battle scenes and drama, and human interest. The two men develop an attraction to each other that slowly grows, making it very believable and heart-felt. The main characters are well drawn, as are some of the supporting ones. The appearance of Little John and Robin give an idea where the series is going.
I'm pleased to see well written gay characters in the context of reputable and serious historical fiction and enjoyed the book very much.
Top international reviews
And you certainly can’t with this one.
I relish a good historical novel where the author seamlessly blends authentic history with fiction.
I was searching for a novel set during the Crusades and this one popped up. The cover featured two Hospitaller knights on horseback—two warrior monks. (The black mantles with the white Maltese Cross—the Benedictine habit of the Knights Hospitaller.) A novel on the Crusading orders? Count me in! Most novels on the Crusading orders are about the Knights Templar, and most deal with conspiracy theories, secret societies or the search for the Holy Grail. I hastily ordered the book.
I admit I did not do my research when ordering. I discovered this novel was about a love story between two knights. I was not looking for a male/male romance. That was not the problem. But it was not even about Hospitallers! The two lovers were just garden-variety knights who were part of Richard the First’s contingent to the Holy Land during the Third Crusade. It disappointed me.
Another reviewer also noted the inaccurate description of the women’s hair and dresses: wearing hair in long ringlets or curls, and wearing low-cut gowns. There was also discussion of a proposed marriage when the potential bride is described, as “she is but fourteen,” as if fourteen was too young an age for a woman to marry in the 12th century.
Quite the contrary. In those times, a woman was of marriageable age at 12. Even in the 15th century, Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of King Henry VII of England, was married at 12 and seven months pregnant by the time she was 13.
What a wasted opportunity. Imagine how masterful a story could have been had if two Hospitaller brothers had fallen in love with each other. This would have provided so much material for a well-woven historical tale. The knights would have been monks and forbidden to marry or even have mistresses, let alone take male lovers. Human nature has not changed in the passing centuries and love affairs among the cloistered are a known fact. (Think of the charges against the Templars at the beginning of the 1300s which were concocted from these facts.) Such a premise would have been very plausible in the all-male environment of a military garrison under a monastic rule. Plot complications would abound. The lovers would have suffered greatly in the knowledge of the sin of their shared love. Would they have physically consummated their love or simply dealt with the pain a love that could never be? How could they have kept their trysts secret from their fellow knight-brothers as they slept in dormitories, lived in common and had little or no privacy? Would their secret love be revealed and what would be their fate?
What a story this could have been! Instead, it becomes, “Brokeback Mountain,” in chain mail.
You may not race through this book like you might others which have MM romantic inclinations, but you will feel that you are on Richard the Lionheart's crusade, bond with him, his knights, his family. This is done in a way that allows author Newcomb to leave him offstage most of the time to concentrate on two subtly delicious subplots: The desperately perilous and frustrating attraction between Sir Henry de Grey and Sir Stephan d'Aigle, one dark haired and one blond knight, respectively; and the giddy emergence from out of legend of the knight Robin and two street ruffians named Alan and Little John whom Robin and Henry and Stephan turn into knaves.
If Mary Renault had chosen to write about the Crusades instead of ancient Greece and Persia, she could not have done any better--and that is high praise, indeed.
Along the way there are truly brutal and sickening displays of man's indifferences and intolerance toward the lives of others, some of which may prompt you to stop reading for a while.
You will also meet three remarkable ladies in Richard's Queen Berengaria, his widowed sister Joanna, and his mother, the irrepressible Eleanor of Aquitaine. These three bring a refreshing change of pace, insight, and knowledge to the tale, especially when it comes to sorting out for themselves the intricate relationships between Richard and his knights that takes a full book (and it's a long book) to develop.
The attraction between Henry and Stephan is visceral and semi-tragic, and you can understand, but not quite forgive, Henry's terror if he thinks of pursuing Stephan (as Stephan has pursued him) based on the falsely manifested piety that the Church holds over the western world.
Yet you go on and on, across Europe, the Middle East, and back again to England where we are met with the wonderful conclusion that is really only a segue to a sequel I am going to get right now.
In Book 1 of Battle Scars Men of the Cross, author Charlene Newcomb created a mixture of war, post-traumatic stress disorder and a same sex relationship with a dash of romance and a subtle pinch of politics and religion.
When King Richard the Lionheart put out a call for brave men to join the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Henry de Grey believed it was his duty for God, king and country to answer that call.While he had never been to battle, he was ready, if it was God’s will, to die on the battle field defending the cause.
Stephan L’Aigle, a seasoned and hardened Knight had been seventeen years old when he took up the Cross for Richard, not the Pope or the Church. Readers get a hint of Stephan’s character early in the story: “He ignored the throng of men around him and focused on Henry. That gaze unnerved Henry…” “You should stay and keep me warm.” And later when a woman propositions him: “I can help.” “I am afraid you have the wrong man, dear lady” Stephan replied.
While Henry and Stephan are the two main characters in Men of the Cross, readers will be introduced to Robin du Louviers, Little John, Allan and Marian. If these names sounds familiar then rest assured they are who you think they are: Robin Hood, Little John and Allan (the outlaws and Merry Men) and Maid Marian.
The book reveals the amount of research that Newcomb put into her writing. A bit of her research included clothing of the time, sights and smells, behavior of the horses, the clank of swords, the sound of stone throwers and the nightmares of the Knights.
I give this book “5 Starts.” I recommend the Battle Scars series for anyone who is interested in the Crusades, historical fiction, same sex relationships, action, adventure or just a different kind of book all together.
Book 2, Battle Scars, For King and Country, now available.
Book 3, Battle Scars, Swords of the King, coming in 2018
This book appears to be the first in a series, but it stands well on its own. Although the story deals with some serious themes, there are plenty of light and humorous moments, and lots of action. I would consider this a fast, fun read, with serious overtones.